Brad Hunter

HomeAdvisor Chief Economist

orange twitter icon     orange linkedin icon
Brad Hunter is the Chief Economist at HomeAdvisor.

Hunter joined the company in 2016 and leads HomeAdvisor’s economic research and analysis on the home improvement industry, home remodeling data and the U.S housing market. Hunter informs HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Report, an annual report that analyzes homeowner spending, and the HomeAdvisor Farnsworth Index, a quarterly survey that measures industry confidence among service professionals.

Hunter has been invited to speak at numerous industry conferences, and is regularly cited in local, national and trade publications, including CNBC, Bloomberg News, Forbes, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. Prior to joining HomeAdvisor, Hunter was Chief Economist and Director of Consulting for Metrostudy, where he orchestrated hundreds of area-specific housing market studies over his 20 years at the firm.

Hunter holds a degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and has been a guest lecturer at Harvard University.

Upcoming Events:


Contact Info: For more information about upcoming events, contact publicrelations[at]homeadvisor[dot]com.

Recent Media Coverage:


Most Recent Posts:


Why A New Roof May Cost You Zero Dollars (in the Long Run)

When a homeowner takes on a large home improvement project, they are generally doing it for their own benefit and enjoyment. And although they may anticipate the project will greatly increase the value of the home, most projects only add a small portion to the total. However, the best-of-all-worlds home improvement projects do exist –…

READ MORE

Why it’s a Good Idea to Put a Home Equity Line of Credit Towards Home Remodeling

13 is usually an unlucky number. But what about $13.7 trillion? That’s the total amount of home equity in the country (as of the first quarter of 2017), according to recent data from Freddie Mac. That’s double than what it was five years ago – and it’s predicted to increase even more as we move…

READ MORE

Why So Many Millennial Homeowners Are Remodeling Their Basements

Millennials are just starting to break into home ownership, but affordability is still a challenge. While dreams of owning their own home may have come true, many millennial homeowners may not have been able to put an offer on their dream home – and had to settle for an older home with some differed maintenance,…

READ MORE

Five Home Projects to Address Immediately After Your House Has Flooded

Editor’s Note: My thoughts go out to all those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. It has been both heart-wrenching to see what you are going through, and uplifting to witness the courage and generosity that is being expressed every day. The impact a Category 3 or 4 hurricane can have on your most valuable…

READ MORE

Why Low Housing Inventory Leads to High Home Improvement Spending

Home shoppers around the country are frustrated. There aren’t enough homes for sale that meet their needs, and those that are available are often the subject of high price bidding wars. It’s no wonder that so many homeowners – Baby Boomers in particular — are finding it more sensible to stay in their current home…

READ MORE

The Five Most Popular – And Most Expensive – Home Improvement Projects

Homeowners across the nation are not only spending more money on remodeling – they’re tackling much larger, more aesthetic and more expensive home improvement projects than five or six years ago. Instead of just replacing a faucet and handle, they’re upgrading the whole sink (…and what good is an updated sink if it’s next to…

READ MORE

Why the Home Improvement Industry is Worth Billions

The home improvement industry is big – and it’s only getting bigger. A doubling of the average homeowner’s equity in the past five years has stimulated steady growth, allowing home improvement spending to grow nearly twice as fast as the rest of retail. But how did it get to this point? And what’s in store…

READ MORE

Three Reasons Landscapers Are So Optimistic About Their Business

Each quarter, HomeAdvisor works with The Farnsworth Group — the top market research firm in the home improvement space — to conduct a survey among nearly 2,000 home service professionals to measure confidence in both their business and the industry. Q2 results are in, and landscaping companies are rolling in the green and mowing over…

READ MORE

Today’s Resale Housing Market: Searching High and Low

June 21, 2017 New data on existing home sales just out from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) show strong demand in the month of May.  As a matter of fact, demand was stronger than expected, based upon the average forecasts of economists nationwide.   The new NAR report highlights that inventories are extraordinarily low right…

READ MORE

Heard at NAREE: Ugly Homes Transformed…for Profit

June 19, 2017NAREE, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, always attracts thought leaders and interesting speakers to their national conference in Denver, and last week’s was no exception. I wanted to share some points made by other speakers that I found to be of interest. Of particular interest to me was the panel of…

READ MORE

New Home Production is Falling Behind

May 24, 2017 The latest monthly data on new home sales showed a bit of a pullback, but the overall trend continues to be solidly positive.  The spring selling season is going extremely well for most builders, and pricing power for them is proving to still be strong so far, even in the face of…

READ MORE

Home Depot Earnings – Spring 2017

May 18, 2017 The home improvement industry is growing almost twice as fast as the rest of consumer retail.  Homeowners are increasingly willing to open their wallets when it comes to investing in their homes. The latest data point adds further evidence of this trend:  sales at Home Depot stores in the quarter were $23.9…

READ MORE

Home Builder Confidence and Lot Supplies

May 16, 2017 New Lot Development is Not Keeping Up With Demand Builder confidence indicators show that home builders are extremely confident. That said, the pace of new construction fell in April (-2.6% versus March, and essentially flat versus a year ago).  We see the overall pace of new home construction as still rising at a…

READ MORE

Modifications for Independent Living: Going Beyond Grab Bars and Ramps

May 3, 2017 (Percentage of “location within home” for Aging-in-Place Modifications) A key factor driving the current surge in home improvement relates to the changing needs of the baby boom generation.  Age and mobility-related modifications are already a $13 billion sector of the economy, and growing rapidly.  More importantly, this surge will incorporate a broader…

READ MORE

New Report: Home Improvement Per-Household Jumps 57%

April 26, 2017 In our new HomeAdvisor report, we revealed the findings of our latest survey of homeowners.  This random sample of 500 homeowners reported that they have increased their expenditure on home improvement/repairs/maintenance by 57% in the past twelve months.  At $5,157 during the last twelve months, this is also a higher level of…

READ MORE

Index of Remodeler Sentiment Shows “Extreme” Confidence

April 11, 2017We at HomeAdvisor have just launched a new quarterly index of sentiment among home improvement contractors.  In collaboration with The Farnsworth Group, we surveyed 1,744 companies, asking their leadership about their current and expected future business prospects.  For more comprehensive results, methodology, and survey dates, explore the detailed data, and watch for ongoing quarterly…

READ MORE

Twin Engines of Growth: Confidence and Home Equity

March 23, 2017 Homeowners in the U.S. have become wealthier just by being homeowners.  According to the Federal Reserve’s household flow of funds data, the average homeowner went from $85,000 in home equity in the year 2011 to $167,000 in 2015.  As of today, in early 2017, the average homeowners equity is more than DOUBLE…

READ MORE

Impressive Resilience Seen in Single-Family Construction Data

March 16, 2017 New data from the Commerce Department shows that the market for new single-family homes continued to strengthen as apartment-building construction weakened.  Single-family construction rose 6.5% in February from the previous month, while multifamily construction fell 3.7%.  As we had been predicting, multifamily construction has started to soften, following an extremely strong multi-year…

READ MORE

Builder Confidence Back to 2005 (Peak!) Levels

March 15, 2017 Home builders are feeling more confident than they have any time since the (2005) peak of the housing market.  Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes jumped six points to a level of 71 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This is the highest…

READ MORE

Harvard Report: Takeaways and Further Thoughts

February 28, 2017 I just read the new report called “Improving America’s Housing: Demographic Change and the Remodeling Outlook” The Harvard Joint Center, as always, did a fantastic job summarizing the key trends and issues. Here are some of my takeaways and thoughts. Not One, but Two 900-Pound Gorillas (The Boomer and Millennial Generations) The…

READ MORE

Home Depot’s Strong Results and The Outlook for Home Improvement

February 21, 2017 With more homeowners feeling flush from a sustained rise in their property value, home improvement spending is on the rise, and The Home Depot has once again nailed down its position as the leader in the home improvement retail business, $22.2 billion in sales in the fourth quarter, beating analysts’ predictions averaging…

READ MORE

Quoteables from KBIS

February 1, 2017 Credit: KBIS Record attendance at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) in January illustrates the growth in this sector of the home improvement industry.  I heard a lot of insightful discussions about the industry at KBIS, which inspired me to jot down some valuable nuggets and merge them with my own…

READ MORE

“Heard in the Halls” at KBIS

     January 20, 2017 Just back from KBIS (the Kitchen and Bath show in Orlando), and I was struck by how overwhelmingly positive and optimistic the mood was. I met three business owners who have businesses that are unable to keep up with all the requests they are getting for their home improvement services…

READ MORE

Leading Indicator Points to 6.7% Growth in 2017

January 19, 2017 (Photo from Joint Center of Housing Studies) One of the indicators I like to watch is the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA), put out by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.  The latest update is out now, and it incorporates new data from the Census Bureau (the American Housing Survey). …

READ MORE

Home Improvement and the White House

January 3, 2017 The election of a new president can have both positive and negative effects on the economy — and on the home improvement industry in particular. There is a lot of uncertainty about what lies ahead no matter your ideology. Here’s a look at some possible scenarios. On the positive side, tax cuts…

READ MORE

Prospective 2017 Home Improvement Trends: First-Timers and Fixer-Uppers

January 3, 2017 2017’s prospective home improvement trends are starting to come into better focus — and all signs point to a surge in first-time home buyers and home improvement spending.  In fact, HomeAdvisor’s 2017 forecast calls for a continued dwindling of “distress” and a continued increase in the number of “normal” home sales. And…

READ MORE

Five Things To Know About Home Office Attitudes and Trends

December 13, 2016 Shift in Home Office Trends Home offices became increasingly popular during the 1990s and 2000s, but as of the last few years, some renovation pros are seeing a decline in the demand for home improvement services related to working from home. More and more people are working from home, so why the…

READ MORE

3rd Quarter: Real Estate Revenue Growth Surpasses Most Other Industries

December 12, 2016 Boom in Real Estate Revenue The economy is growing at a relatively modest pace, but new data from the Census Bureau show that revenue in real estate and rental and leasing is growing faster than the other industries that the agency tracks. Total revenue for the third quarter of 2016, in a…

READ MORE

The 2017 Housing Market Forecast

The 2017 housing outlook is one of diverging trends. HomeAdvisor’s forecast calls for single-family housing to rise at a rate similar to the 2016 rate, but for multifamily construction (apartments and condos) to fall, as the recent apartment boom finally winds down. The single-family home increase is because of job growth and rising household formations,…

READ MORE

When Mortgage Rates Rise, Home Improvement Will Follow

November 29, 2016 By: Brad Hunter, HomeAdvisor’s Chief Economist As mortgage rates increase over the next few years, home improvement activity is likely to increase with them. This may seem counter intuitive, but you can expect two somewhat opposing effects: one highly positive and one slightly negative. Negative Effect The negative effect will stem from…

READ MORE

Single-Family Home Sales: The West is the Best

November 23, 2016 Sales of new single-family houses in October 2016 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 563,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 1.9% below the revised September rate of 574,000. That said, the number is 17.8%…

READ MORE

How to Think About the New Housing Data

November 17, 2016 The new data on housing starts just came out, showing a 25.5% increase in the month of October (seasonally-adjusted percent increase from September, which was revised upward). Although most of the improvement was due to a 74.5% increase in multifamily construction, single-family starts increased nicely as well (up 10.7%). I hasten to…

READ MORE

Home Depot Sales Beating the Rest of the Economy

November 15, 2016 Retail sales, across all types of stores, have shown significant improvement, but Home Depot continues to run rings around many other types of retail. Home Depot just completed their conference call with industry analysts, and they described their business results for their fiscal third quarter. I jotted down some of the key…

READ MORE

More Evidence on the “Nesting is Investing” Trend

November 11, 2016 Recent comments from home products manufacturers on their quarterly earnings calls supports our thesis that people are finally getting around to taking on long-deferred home improvements.  Homeowners are now more readily upgrading to higher-quality products.  I was reading some research from UBS’ excellent industry analyst Sue Maklari, and she cited some comments from…

READ MORE

Kitchens and Baths with a “Thriving in Place” Spin

Want in on a multi-billion-dollar business opportunity? Specialize in thriving-in-place projects. Roughly 108 million U.S. citizens have surpassed age 50—and the majority of them wish to live comfortably and independently in their homes for as long as possible. The reality is that most of these people will have to modify their existing homes to make…

READ MORE

Aging (“Thriving”) in Place: A $13 Billion Opportunity

November 2, 2016 The Opportunity I have commented on the “billion-dollar” opportunity for home improvement aimed at what we call “Thriving in Place.” Now I have a number to attach to it. The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University has studied the industry thoroughly and found that the market for this kind of…

READ MORE

The Third-Quarter HomeAdvisor Report: The Taming of the Resale

October 4, 2016 On homeowners’ minds: taming those overgrown plants, bugs, and pesky critters!  In the third quarter of 2016, the nation’s homeowners increased their orders for services related to pest control, lawn care, and landscaping faster than they did for any other categories of home services. New data from HomeAdvisor, which compare the third…

READ MORE

Lifestyle Investments Drive Kitchen and Bath Remodeling

Remodeling is on the rise, and consumers are now tackling larger kitchen and bathroom renovations than in previous years.  Whole-room remodels are the kinds of discretionary (as opposed to immediately-necessary) projects that typically get put off when the economy is soft.  Now that the lingering effects of the recession have mostly faded, homeowners are feeling…

READ MORE

A Case-in-Point: Smart-Home Tech and the Elderly

Earlier this week, I attended the “Remodeling Futures Conference” held at the Harvard Faculty Club, and put on by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.  There was a record turnout, including members of the remodeling industry, academia, industry associations, and government (Census Bureau).   There was a focus on home automation, covering smart-home trends,…

READ MORE

Empty-Nesters, Smart-Home Tech & Their Impact on Home Improvement Trends

June 17, 2016 Baby boomers account for nearly half of all spending on home improvement projects nationwide and they when they undertake a project they invest “for keeps.” More than 60% of them plan to stay in their home as they age, so with that expectation in mind, they tend to pay a little more…

READ MORE

Nesting Is Investing

HomeAdvisor Chief Economist Brad Hunter reports consumers are becoming more cautious with their money, which has positive implications for home improvement spending. Last week Macy’s, Nordstrom and Kohl’s all reported disappointing first quarters and experienced big stock price declines. Folks are shopping at the discount chains (or online) instead of at Macy’s, and the key theme is that they are trying to make their dollars go farther.

READ MORE

Outlook for Home Improvement Continues to Brighten

May 21, 2016 It’s been a busy day for remodeling trends and stats, and the news is decidedly positive. The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) released their RMI (Remodelers Index) and the Harvard Joint Center released their LIRA (Leading Indicator for Remodeling). They both showed that more remodelers are seeing increases than decreases. The forward-looking…

READ MORE

Report from PCBC: New Home Construction

July 6, 2016 I just got back from the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC) in San Francisco, and I heard some positive sentiment (Brexit shock notwithstanding) from builder executives. The level of traffic through showrooms and the quality of traffic have improved, supporting the pace of sales so far this selling season. Builders Focus on…

READ MORE

Remodeling, Jobs, and Consumer Wherewithal

June 8, 2016 The recent poor performance of labor markets adds to concerns that consumers are pulling in their horns. Retail sales at major department store chains have been dismal.  Despite this, home-improvement spending has held up well. It will be important to watch measures of consumer confidence to see if the public psyche weakens…

READ MORE

Home Improvement and “Churn”

February 11, 2016 The number of home improvement projects underway at any given time depends heavily on what I call “churn,” or the rate of turnover as it relates to homes.  The rate of churn across America has rebounded since the Great Recession — and with an increase in churn has come an increase in…

READ MORE